Mean, Stingy Nation

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Obama Administration

Maybe I’m not remembering the past correctly, but it seems to me that if the refugee children crisis had happened decades ago, Americans would have just helped them. State and local governments would have cooperated in some kind of humanitarian effort; church and other groups would be sending toys and blankets and offering to foster the younger ones, at least while their status was sorted out.

Now it’s like we’re a nation of grumpy old men yelling at everyone to get off our lawn. I’ve even heard politicians complain we have to turn them away because they might be carrying diseases.

What the children are fleeing is anarchy. they are fleeing failed states in which there is no functional criminal justice system and criminal activity, including murder, is carried out with impunity. People arm themselves and join gangs just to survive. In short, it’s the sort of place the “open carriers” and Bundy Ranch militia crowd are trying to turn the U.S. into.

The President has asked for $3.7 million billion to deal with the crisis and is also asking state governors to get behind hosting the children. I take it the request is running into a wall of NIMBY. Under current law and with current resources, it could take years to determine the status of and make decisions about many of these children. A couple of Texas politicians propose to amend the law to make it easier to ship the children back to the kill zones.

Republican politicians are complaining to Fox News that children are being shipped into states that are not on the border —

Fox News has learned that 748 unaccompanied minors have been transferred from areas near the border to the Chicago area. Of the original group of 748 kids, 319 have been placed with family members or sponsors while they await an immigration hearing. The other 429 have been placed in facilities run by the Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit organization that receives grants from the Department of Health and Human Services

Oh, the, um, humanity? We’re supposed to keep tens of thousands of children locked up in holding cells in Texas?

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told Fox News Friday that he did not know the exact locations of the facilities where the children were being kept, and stated his belief that the White House did not want the children’s living conditions to be made public.

More likely the White House doesn’t want a bunch of Fox News-watching goons to try to seize the children and dump them back over the Rio Grande.

Speaking of which, Fox News also is reporting that bodies of dead children have been found in the Rio Grande; they apparently died trying to cross. The geniuses who write right-wing blogs are blaming President Obama because of “his” immigration policy (a law passed in 2003 and amended in 2008).

For President Bush, Katrina became a toxic political subject due to dead bodies floating in the waters to underscore the human crisis. But at least he responded.

That’s a joke, right? Dubya got his picture taken with firefighters. End of response. See also New Orleans: What a Difference a Year Didn’t Make and Stormy Weather.

For President Obama the question is, will the floating bodies of young “Dreamers” finally stop the President from playing politics and start playing leader of the free world?

What’s driving those children to the U.S. is going on in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, not Washington. And if anybody is “playing politics,” it’s Republicans in Congress and elsewhere who seem to want to make the refugee crisis as messy as possible to make the President look bad.

Unfortunately I don’t see a real solution that wouldn’t require some kind of action on the part of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which are even more dysfunctional than the U.S. House of Representatives. Our basic choices at the moment are either to give the children shelter or ship them back to a place where many more will die. If we choose the former, we need to spend some money and make an effort to treat these children humanely so they have a chance of growing up to be responsible and law-abiding people.

If it’s the latter, wingnuts stop the phony outrage about bodies in the Rio Grande. If we ship them home, we’re shipping some of them to their deaths; the only difference is that they’ll die out of reach of Fox News cameras.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Doug  •  Jul 15, 2014 @8:18 am

    “… if the refugee children crisis had happened decades ago, Americans would have just helped them. State and local governments would have cooperated in some kind of humanitarian effort;…”

    Years ago the Republicans would have had a chance at snagging some of these potential future voters. It seems likely to me that the uncertain origins of some of these kids means we won’t ship them back. If ‘Dream’ passes, they can become voters. The current policies of the GOP mean none of these future votes would be for republicans. This is a nightmare of their creation. Looking at the overall problem of immigration, there are millions of potential voters – ALL of them predisposed to despise republican policies. The GOP has to either modify their policies to appeal to their culture or drive them out.

    The Hispanic culture is mostly Catholic. The new Pope is taking public stands which reject the heartless ethic which the GOP has embraced. The Pontiff could care less about party politics in the US, but as long as he’s speaking directly on helping the poor, feeding the hungry and taking care of the sick as a social obligation, not just an individual choice, the fastest-growing demographic (even without any immigration reform) in the US is going to find the Rand-inspired vision to be faulty.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 15, 2014 @8:27 am

    “The President has asked for $3.7 million to deal with the crisis…”
    maha,
    I believe he’s asked for $3.7 Billion.

    Otherwise, you’re spot-on!

    Maybe the Fluoride that was put in the water hardened more than just our teeth?
    It seems to have hardened a lot of heads and hearts, too.

    The psychopaths and sociopaths of the world seem to be winning.

  3. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2014 @10:00 am

    Doug…Yeah, the Repugs have to stop the flow of empathy coming into our country.

  4. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2014 @10:38 am

    It’s pretty sad to watch children being kept in oversized dog kennels. Even the supposed terrorists in Guantanamo are given better living accommodations.

    And Jesus saith unto the Repugs, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the children of Honduras, El Salvador,and Guatemala hath not where to lay their heads.

  5. JDM  •  Jul 15, 2014 @11:34 am

    You’ll notice the three countries are, just by the greatest of coincidences I’m sure, three of the countries we’ve most messed about with politically for a great many decades (going on a century for some). We’ve done a lot to create the conditions these children find themselves in. We have an extra moral obligation to help them, over and above common decency.

  6. paradoctor  •  Jul 15, 2014 @1:05 pm

    The refugee children come here because they and their parents fear for their lives and liberty. If we send them back, then we will be sending them to death or worse.

    One might naively expect some media inquiry into the cause of plight this dire; but any thorough investigation of Central American tyranny and chaos will inevitably implicate decades of the USA’s foreign policy; so such investigation never happens.

    Therefore those children embody an official embarrassment. Merely by existing, they are an indictment of American policy; and furthermore they have committed the crime of visibility. Mrs. Noonan says that borders are gone; I say that alibis are also gone.

  7. Stephen Stralka  •  Jul 15, 2014 @1:36 pm

    Wow. This AJ Strata is a remarkably stupid person. The reason for the President’s failure to respond with more vigor is hiding in plain sight:

    When he’s not berating Congress for not passing his ballooning supplemental request fast enough, Obama harangues Republicans in the House for not passing the Senate’s immigration reform bill…

    Obama to House Republicans: Give me some funds so I can deal with this situation.

    House Republicans to Obama: Drop dead.

    AJ Strata to Obama: Do something!

  8. maha  •  Jul 15, 2014 @1:44 pm

    Stephen — even so, Strata is a genius compared to Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit. I’m not sure Hoft is actually sentient.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 15, 2014 @2:01 pm

    Also, too – Donald Douglas.

  10. Stephen Stralka  •  Jul 15, 2014 @2:20 pm

    Yes, I looked at the Gateway Pundit post that Strata linked to. That one was written by a guest idiot, not Jim Hoft, but it was plenty dumb. Again there’s a reference to Obama’s “lawless immigration policies”–which is strictly correct in one sense, but only because the Republicans have refused to pass any immigration laws.

    I did see a Jim Hoft post scoffing at the supplemental budget request because it’s meant to feed and house these kids, not send more military hardware to the border.

    In the annals of blatant right-wing hypocrisy, this is pretty impressive. These kids are disease-ridden parasites and we shouldn’t spend a dime to take care of them. And that terrible heartless Obama is letting them drown in the Rio Grande.

  11. uncledad  •  Jul 15, 2014 @2:23 pm

    “Maybe I’m not remembering the past correctly”

    Maha, unless you can remember that everything was roses and fine wine under Bu$hco and that the moment that Kenyan fella got in office everything went to shit, then no you are not remembering the past correctly, so get with the program please!!!!!!

    Oh the great Moroccan toddler invasion of 2014 has now sparked what is being estimated a 25,000 strong militia movement to be amassed on the border to turn the little poopy pant brownies back. So if the million trucker march and operation American spring are any indication they should get just about twelve maybe thirteen brave patriots to show!

  12. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2014 @2:28 pm

    Stephen…. Here’s the quote that I would have posted regarding your link to AJ Strata’s stupidity.
    “The next day, he headed down there, where he literally put his arms around shell-shocked survivors, many of them black people.

    Maybe my racist-o-meter needs to be dialed down to adjust its sensitively bias, but I don’t see any relevance aside from pure racism to differentiate between shell shocked survivors based on the color of their skin.

  13. Stephen Stralka  •  Jul 15, 2014 @2:47 pm

    Swami: I might need some adjustment too, but it does appear that Bush is being praised there for his willingness to touch black people.

  14. maha  •  Jul 15, 2014 @9:30 pm

    gulag — Yeah, wasn’t it DD who was outraged over a poster that said SASQUATCH IS REAL because he didn’t see the space between IS and REAL? That earned him a permanent exhibit in the Derp Hall of Fame.

  15. uncledad  •  Jul 15, 2014 @10:59 pm

    Mean, Stingy and and batshit Crazy

  16. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2014 @11:34 pm

    Isn’t Donald Douglas supposed to be some adjunct law professor at Cornel or Yale University? If I’m remembering correctly he once made an incredibly stupid comment/statement that was way off the charts where reasoning and logic were a concerned.
    I remember checking his bio and I was left with a big huh? bouncing around inside my head. I remember thinking that something ain’t right, either he’s masquerading online as a professor, or the bar to becoming a professor at a prestigious school has been lowered to the point any idiot can leap over it.
    But talking about Donalds.. One of my favorite Donalds from the other side is Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. He an old veteran in the battle to clean up vice and immorality across the American landscape. I think he’s been a recipient of the coveted Anthony Comstock Award.

  17. Swami  •  Jul 16, 2014 @12:27 am

    Never does a man stand so tall as when he stoops to help a child. Really!

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/glenn-beck-immigration-border-radio-show-108911.html

  18. Craig  •  Jul 16, 2014 @3:43 am

    Maha, a very good post. It’s a subject that ties in to some of your other interests.

    But, irrespective of what Republicans do (though important to hold them accountable, particularly when they go authoritarian and circle their wagons), we seem to be seeing these events in more and more places. Europe is getting many refuges from North Africa (and also having an authoritarian reaction in some places). Syria has sent refugees into several countries. Australia is receiving many refugees. There’s always been some of this but we seem to be entering an increasingly hectic era that isn’t being reported very well (Fox News which carries little news is not the only problem). And at least some of this is traceable to the droughts that seem to be a result of global warming. Droughts affect food supplies and dampen economies. It’s probably going to get worse in the next few years. And the world economy has still not fully recovered from 2008. An additional issue is that as we switch to alternative energy, the more modern countries will handle the transition reasonably well but many poorer countries for a range of reasons may have many difficulties, particularly if they depend economically on fossil fuels.

    I’m stumbling on more of these news stories almost by accident as I try to understand the consequences of global warming and what needs to be done internationally to stop emissions of carbon dioxide (again, not all things are related to global warming or even related issues over adequate energy).

    Longterm, circling the wagons isn’t going to work as an American response. This is not just about Central America, though that’s the news of the moment. Stopping global warming is going to require global cooperation. And a more aware sense of ethics. I have a feeling these are areas where your thinking and studies could be very helpful.

  19. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 16, 2014 @8:15 am

    Craig,
    Wait until sea-level starts to rise significantly.
    As many as 80% of people live within 60 miles of coasts.
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/10/18/how-many-people-live-near-the/

    I think this estimate may be a tad high, but still, even if it’s half, it’ll still put a lot of pressure on the inland areas.
    And even though the oceans won’t rise 60 miles – hardly – the people nearest the coasts will look to move inland.

    The coming Water Wars for Fresh Water could make the Middle East seem like a DMZ.

  20. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 16, 2014 @8:53 am

    Today’s moment of “DERP!!!:”

    A Congressional wannabe talks on and on about how he saw a bus full of miserable migrant children, and how that’s not compassionate.

    And then the reporter tells him what he saw, was some local kids on their way to the YMCA.

    “DERP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  21. Craig  •  Jul 16, 2014 @7:13 pm

    Cund gulag, of course you’re right. In a way, it’s already begun with Pacific Islanders starting to pick up and move elsewhere.

    I’m not sure, though, what’s going to happen when millions are forced to move. Unfortunately, we’re going to get plenty of practice long before that. The U.S., Europe and other countries are going to have to get their act together. It’s more an issue for tomorrow than today,…. but global warming for the last thirty years has been happening faster than expected. The Chinese are starting to raise some of these issues, though it’s not clear how sincere or cynical they are. Then again, real cooperation has an odd way of making cynicism irrelevant.



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